The White House is ramping up an effort to promote a nationwide competition to decide which high school wins a commencement speech by President Obama.
An internal White House memo indicates that the White House is facing a shortage of applications less than a week before the deadline.
The competition was extended from the February 25 deadline until Friday, March 11 after few schools met the original application deadline. CBS News has learned a White House Communications Office internal memo dated February 22 noted “a major issue with the Commencement Challenge.”
“As of yesterday we had received 14 applications and the deadline is Friday,” the memo said. The memo also urged recipients to, “please keep the application number close hold.”
A follow-up memo on February 28 reported receipt of 68 applications. Noting the competition among more than 1,000 schools last year, the memo said, “Something isn’t working.” It called on staffers to ask “friendly congressional, gubernatorial and mayoral offices” to encourage schools to apply. …
On Monday, officials declined to cite the number of applications received so far.